Five Things We Learned - October 14, 2014

Wild - Five Things We Learned...
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

Wild - Five Things We Learned...

The second week of the London Film Festival kicked off yesterday (October 13th) and the array of big-name releases continues apace. We caught an early glimpse at Wild, the new drama starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who quite literally walked 1,000 miles. Here are five things we learned…

 

This isn’t Eat Pray Love

This has billed a bit like Julia Roberts’ 2010 effort Eat Pray Love, and, to be fair, it has a few key things in common, it’s based on a memoir and it’s a woman travelling alone on a determined mission to find herself. But that’s where the similarities end. This is a gritty drama, most of which sees Witherspoon either bleeding, crying or struggling, there’s no delicious foreign food, or amiable holy men, this is the gnarly hard yards of middle America.

 

There aren’t many actresses who could carry a film like this, but Reese Witherspoon is one of them…

So much of this film is Reese Witherspoon, alone, trudging across empty wasteland. In the hands of most actresses this would be torture, but Witherspoon has the charm and charisma to pull it off. She’s just so very watchable.

 

Don’t go if you’re put off by voiceover…

Because there’s a lot of it. Whether it’s Strayed’s inner monologue, poetry being read aloud or general good advice, there’s not a minute that goes by without some sort of portentous voiceover. At times it’s charming, lovingly spoken as Witherspoon looks out at the kind of landscapes and giant vistas that you only find in the American wilderness, other times it’s a bit much, but if it’s not your thing, avoid…

 

Or if you’re not in the mood for soul searching...

Strayed set off on the hike after the death of her mother, her divorce and a spiralling drug habit had basically left her ruined. We learn the full extent of her addictions and trauma as she hikes, working through flashback after flashback. There’s a lot of stopping and thinking, lots of languid looks at the skyline and plenty of deep breathes. So, if you’re in the mood for explosions, keep walking.

 

Nick Hornby is given an impossible task, but he does damn well considering…

There’s nothing about Strayed’s intensely personal memoir of how she walked 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail that screams ‘Make this a film! Now!’.  Hornby, who has form with adaptations of memoirs after his stunning script for An Education, does what he can here, injecting danger, pace and purpose into the film, but with constant flashbacks and so many scenes where Witherspoon is by herself, it was impossibility to make this really tick.

 

Wild will be released into UK cinemas in January.

WILD Trailer (Reese Witherspoon - 2014)

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